Monday, January 2, 2012

Reviews 12/27/11 - 1/1/12

Hell on Wheels

It's tiring to see the writers do everything in their power to create "anti-stereotypes." The former Confederate soldier is actually not racist--in fact, the Union soldier is--and he's only a tortured soul trying to get justice. He even teaches the black guy how to shoot! There's Lily, the pretty British woman who is not a damsel in distress but someone who can stand the wilderness, and the prostitute who is so nice she'll sleep with a black guy. Individually, these characters aren't that bad--heavy-handed but workable to an extent. Altogether, they form a painful bunch of characters, so cliched it's impossible not to laugh.

In the post Mad Men, Breaking Bad era, AMC has been seen a paragon of basic cable programming, able to challenge HBO and the best of premium cable. After The Killing and Hell on Wheels, though, I'm ready to say the first two critical successes were mere flukes on AMC's part, lucky guesses which happened to pan out in the best ways possible. Mainly, it seems like the problem is that the showrunners aren't particularly experienced. Looking at various showrunner's IMDB pages--Veena Sud (The Killing), Tony Gayton (Hell on Wheels), Jason Horowitch (beginning episodes of Rubicon)--it's obvious they don't have the experience as Matthew Weiner (Mad Men) and Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), especially with regards to serialized television.

Leverage had a fun con with Hardison running the team for a change and failing. While his gimmicks are lots of fun, setting up a video game situation for the marks, the marks see through the plan. Nate saves the day with a far easier plan and it's all good.

Sanctuary hasn't been renewed for a fifth season yet and I'm not sure I really want to see another season. The show's really spiraled out of control since the beginning of the fourth season with plots and characters coming from nowhere. The situation with the abnormals from Hollow Earth isn't explained well, like where they're staying where no one would notice, and plots and characters pop up from out of nowhere. Damian Kindler certainly has good ideas, but the sloppiness is clearly evident.

The most annoying recurring plot device of Chuck are when the characters keep secrets from each other which leads to bad things happening. Even more annoying is in last week's episode, where Chuck knows Sarah has a secret, Sarah tells him she has a secret, and then she doesn't tell him. Come on... you'd think they'd learn by now, especially since they're married. But no, the ridiculous secret keeping leads to major drama.
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